On Thursday, September 11, nationally syndicated columnist and television commentator Robert Novak spoke to a luncheon audience of 300 at the Ritz-Carlton. The sharp and savvy Novak commented mainly on the current political scene, but had kind words to say about the late Senator Barry M. Goldwater. Said Novak, "Barry Goldwater was the first optimistic conservative I ever came across."
Other comments from Novak's talk:
On James Carville: "I'm sometimes asked how I can stand to sit across from James Carville. I get paid very well to do it. And besides, I just sit across from him; Mary Matalin has to sleep with him!"
On his support for President Bush: "I worship the very quicksand he walks on? I've got a three-piece suit on, not a cheerleading outfit. You don't see any pom-poms here."
On term limits: "Congressmen are like un-refrigerated food: they get worse over time."
On Ronald Reagan and Calvin Coolidge, who slept a lot as presidents: "When a president is making Z's in the White House bedroom, he's not doing anything bad to the country."
In answer to an audience question of whether the influence of Fox news has made other channels more moderate and less liberal: "Now, you're cutting pretty close to the bone here. I work at CNN! But the short answer is 'NO'?"
The fiercely independent Novak can be seen on CNN where he hosts the Novak Zone, is co-executive producer and commentator for CNN's Capital Gang, and co-hosts Crossfire. Novak has a no-holds-barred style of political insight and considers himself "a conservative who has been on a steady trip to the right." He appears regularly, in his signature three-piece suits, on NBC's acclaimed Meet the Press. However unyielding some might consider his TV persona, Novak's candor makes him a refreshing and trusted commentator inside the Beltway. In his most recent book, Completing the Revolution, Novak lays out a blueprint for the Republican party's return to the principles of the Reagan era in endorsing a national sales tax, establishing personal Social Security accounts, and returning the emphasis of government to advancing individual freedom. Never afraid to take Republican leaders to task, Novak serves as judge to those he calls "Clintonized Republicans."